Friday, August 19, 2005

BTM and the Democratic Primary

With the Q-Poll out and the fight for second place in the Democratic promary too close to call, we'll be looking to see which of the candidates takes the opportunity to jump on the BTM issue. We're anticipating a great deal of press coverage in the next week or so and the "Bloomdoggle" is ripe for political attack.

The most important point to emphasize is that the sweetheart deal, basically a giveaway to developer Steve Ross, is extremely similar to the shenenigans on the West Side. The initial attempt to allow the Jets to sole source a pittance for the railyards finds an almost exact parallel in the sole sourcing of the Market lease.

Whatever one feels about the value of the development iself (and we've made our position quite clear here), the way this deal was midwifed cries out not only for criticism but for a full fledged investigation of insider trading and conflict of interest. In many ways the lease deal "negotiated" with Related is eeringly similar to the corrupt arrangement given to the Buntzman family in the 1970s.

Some of our "one city, one standard folks", particularly those on the various editorial pages, need to take a close look at their biases. There are some who are quick to inveigh against affirmative action programs and so-called set asides, something you'll find us by and large ageeing with, yet when it comes to the favoritism of the old boys network, what we have labeled "patricianage", everyone seems to get lockjaw.

The BTM deal is pervasively corrupt. It is, however, the the kind of corruption that gets glossed over because the players are all fabulously wealthy. The fact that, in the process, an entire group of mnority wholesalers are unceremoniously kicked under the bus only adds to the overall eggregiousness. There is no doubt though that this deal is symbolic of the way this administration does economic development.